27-year-old Meaghan Murphy never expected that she would be spending every waking moment with her older sister.
“Well, I would say that I didn’t start liking you until you were twelve or thirteen,” Caitlin Murphy, her 30-year-old sister, now best friend, laughed. “Maybe it was when we started to wear the same sized clothes.”
The decision to start Capital City Cheesecake was not a life long dream. “My mom was an old school hot dog and French fries kind of lady,” Meaghan said. The sisters did not grow up in the kitchen with a passion for baking.
Meaghan graduated from Trinity University in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in business management. Before Capital City Cheesecake opened in Takoma Park, Md., Meaghan was preparing to get her master’s degree in teaching. She was working as a substitute teacher at a local public school.
According to Meaghan, working with family is much more difficult than most people would assume. The company is divided so that Caitlin does all the recipes and baking in the basement and Meaghan does all the marketing, human resources, and finances in the office on the main floor.
Like any siblings, Meaghan and Caitlin do have their arguments. “We argue in a different way than I would talk to an employee,” Meaghan said. The two go out of their way to treat each other like coworkers and not sisters.
Outside of Capital City Cheesecake, Meaghan enjoys running and reading. But the sisters spend most of their free time going out to eat together. “We love being spoiled,” Meaghan said.
There is nothing better than being served after making food for others all day, Caitlin agreed.
The sisters tried working together to create a children’s book prior to opening their cheesecake business. Caitlin was taking art classes and Meaghan, being business oriented, thought she could help to launch her career.
“It was horrible,” Meaghan said. According to Meaghan, Caitlin would not accept any suggestions and was extremely protective of her creative work.
The concept for Capital City Cheesecake came after a friend wanted a birthday cake. His favorite type of cake happened to be cheesecake. “I was like, alright, I can do that,” Caitlin said.
Both artists at heart, the sisters viewed the challenge more as an art than baking a cake. The cheesecake did not originally come out how it was supposed to, but Caitlin kept trying different recipes until finally she found the best formula.
Caitlin has created several flavors for her cheesecakes, including vegan friendly options to satisfy the vegan-crazed town of Takoma Park. “I always go to the Takoma Park Co-Op to pick up vegan snacks,” said junior studio art major Taylor Callinan. “This place has awesome cheesecakes that even I can enjoy.”
Meaghan loves the daily challenges that the store brings her. Most recently she has expanded the menu to serve sandwiches, coffee, and other baked goods.
“Remove Fear. You can’t fear to fail,” she said. “I am the bottom line. When something goes down I can’t look at someone else to blame.”
Five years from now, Meaghan thinks that the team will be working on something new. “Maybe we’ll sell and move on to the next chapter,” she said. “A chapter that doesn’t focus on cheesecakes.”